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How Long is Too Long for Tony Romo Decision?

Jess Haynie

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Tony Romo

It will soon be a month since Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was expected to be released, yet he is still under contract with Dallas. As everyone is wondering how much longer this saga will continue, one might question how long the Cowboys can keep hanging on to Romo before they become the villains.

Ask Cowboys fans what Dallas should do about Romo and you will get plenty of different answers. Here’s just a sampling of opinions I’ve seen:

  • Should have released him before free agency began.
  • It’s been long enough. No trade’s coming. Set him free.
  • Wait until after the draft to see if his trade value goes up.
  • Wait through preseason; never know what can happen with injuries.
  • Keep him indefinitely. Best backup in the NFL.

Where you stand on this probably is all wrapped up in your feelings about Tony Romo. Even Cowboys fans and analysts who are usually advocates for the business side of the NFL have been unusually sympathetic about Romo’s situation. They hate to see him “held hostage,” as they perceive it, as the Cowboys try to get something back for Romo’s departure.

Tony Romo

QB Tony Romo

Personally, I’m fine with how the Cowboys have handled this so far. It’s like Dallas and Houston, with Denver also at the table, are in a high-stakes hand of Texas Hold ‘Em. From my perspective, the start of free agency was only the flop. Right now is the turn, and the river is the 2017 NFL Draft.

The current standoff is about the two sides, Dallas and potential Tony Romo suitors, trying to call each other’s bluff. The Cowboys are hoping that someone is going to finally get antsy about their quarterback situation and throw them a draft pick to secure Romo. Those teams are hoping that Dallas will eventually tire of the media coverage, need $5 million in cap space, or just finally cut Tony loose for personal reasons.

Even though it feels longer, we’re just three weeks removed from the opening of free agency. The most important move so far was Houston’s shedding Brock Osweiler’s contract by trading him to the Cleveland Browns. At the time, this seemed a clear sign that they were getting ready to move on Tony Romo.

Instead, Houston has dug in with the proclamation that they’re happy to ride with Tom Savage in 2017. They’re grinning like they’ve got two aces in the hole, when the reality is much, much less. They just might bluff their way right out of the playoffs, or at least cost themselves a legit shot

Denver’s position is stronger. They spent a first-round pick last year on Paxton Lynch and can reasonable claim that they’re going to go with him. They also have Trevor Siemian, who is also relatively young and looked solid last year. They can afford to play hardball far more than Houston can.

Frenzy Over Tony Romo Ramping Up, Trade Possible

QB Tony Romo and Owner Jerry Jones

There’s no real internal risk for the Cowboys to keep waiting, Dak Prescott has a firm grip on the starting job and the future of the franchise. If any reporters would still dare to ask about that, you could just reference them back to Tony Romo’s conciliatory press conference in November.

What’s at stake for Dallas now is public relations and their reputation as a player-friendly organization. One of Jerry Jones’ hallmarks has been love and loyalty to his players. When potential future free agents see what’s happening now with Romo, one of the most beloved Cowboys of the last 20 years, could they start to question if Dallas’ culture has changed?

Some would argue that it doesn’t matter, pointing at the New England Patriots. Do you want to make friends or win championships?

Adopting “The Patriot  Way” when it comes to running a team has plenty of merit. But one reason that the Patriots can afford to be tough in personnel matters is their track record for success. Players will deal with the decreased job security for a shot at winning a championship.

Dallas doesn’t have recent Super Bowl success helping their reputation, so they need to be careful about taking a hard line with roster issues. The Cowboys’ national spotlight and lack of state income tax will only go so far to motivating guys if they no longer trust the front office.

Tony Romo

QB Tony Romo

I think Dallas can keep Tony Romo through the 2017 Draft and avoid any significant harm to their reputation. Most will look at it as due diligence; waiting until this major event to see if anyone finally cracks under pressure.

Something could even happen during the draft itself. Imagine that you’re Houston and you’re on the clock in one the middle rounds. You don’t love anyone on the board and can’t find a good trade-down offer. Is that the point when you look around the room and finally decide ti pull the trigger on a Romo trade?

That possibility is why Dallas would be folding too soon if they released Tony Romo now. Draft picks are way more valuable to teams now while everything is still hypothetical. Those values can start dropping fast once the action starts and players start flying off your board.

If nothing happens during or shortly after the draft, though, then I do feel it is time to let Romo go. Let him join up with a new team for the start of their mini-camps and Organized Team Activities. Tony would still have a full two months before training camps start for playbook study and other steps in orienting himself with the new club.

If Romo is still here beyond that point, I’d join the ranks of people who feel Dallas’ is handling this to cruelly. Some felt that way when Tony didn’t get his job back last year. Other joined in when he wasn’t released before the start of free agency.

The number keeps growing the longer this goes.

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Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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12 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    I said this in a post earlier this month, I’m a diehard cowboys fan but the difference in the ” cowboys way” and the ” patriots way” is respect, management, and ownership. While all the other NFL teams are getting better, were more wrapped in ” as the Romo turns soap opera…”. If New England was going through this I guarantee it would have been handled way more different while still building the team for the future. Jerry’s actions have led the fans to believe that he’s more focused in how this Romo situation ends than how THIS team NOW improves for the future. The Giants and Eagles have improved, Can we honestly say that we have?? Even the drama filled Redskins have made a couple moves, and what have we done ??? A couple resigns and Carroll and Paea Not Enough!! This upcoming draft class will have more riding on them then last years did, That’s gonna be a whole lot.

    • Jess Haynie

      The Romo situation and the Cowboys ability to improve are directly linked. Romo is eating up a huge chunk of salary cap space that can’t be used to sign free agents. Partly because of that, the Cowboys are trying their best to get a draft pick in exchange for him so that they can acquire some new talent.

      It’s misguided to say Dallas is distracted by Romo and not focused on the offseason. They are intertwined.

  • Darryl Williams

    I think u mean 3 weeks till the start of the draft ?? Because free agency is going on now … right ?

    • Jess Haynie

      “Three weeks removed from” means the same thing as “three weeks ago.”

      • Darryl Williams

        Got it … must be late night reading got me once again.

  • deal with it

    “Those teams are hoping that Dallas will eventually tire of the media coverage.”
    LOL. Jerry Jones get tired of daily Cowboys media coverage? that’ll NEVER happen but I would expect Tony to be released right before Opening Day. Jerrah is as stubborn as a mule.

    • Jess Haynie

      I agree that Jerry loves publicity, but this is one situation where I doubt he’s enjoying it. It’s nothing but negative from a media perspective, even as the Cowboys are doing the smart things by trying to maximize whatever trade opportunity is out there.

  • Russ_Te

    Houston appears to be the mark, and I agree with the stare down as long as there is good chance they fold and cough up value for Romo.

    Also Romo may (maybe) believe that if something is given for him, it invests his new team more in hanging with him thru some future manageable injury. But I think he knows he’s pretty much down to Houston or retirement regardless at this point, so for that reason may not be as upset with the delay as people figure he would be. If F/A, he might get picked up by Denver or elsewhere – but maybe to backup not start.

    I think Houston will crack and Romo is their Opening Day starter. But I expect the trade to be a conditional pick – up to a 2 or 3 if he starts most games. If we can get a depth OL or DL guy from it also – take it.

    • Jess Haynie

      I agree that any eventual trade will involve a highly conditional pick. I could see the range going anywhere from the 2nd Round to nothing depending on how many games Romo’s healthy for, playoff appearance, etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DallasCowboyBooksBlog fgoodwin

    Ever since Jimmy left, Jerry has tried to convince the rest of the NFL that he’s a “football guy”. If that means holding Romo hostage, so be it.

    So far, he’s succeeded only in making himself look foolish and someone who can’t be trusted.

    • Jess Haynie

      How has he looked foolish in this Romo situation?

      • http://www.facebook.com/DallasCowboyBooksBlog fgoodwin

        Promising to release Romo, then changing his mind, for starters. Constantly drawing a line in the sand, then moving it back when the date passes w/o a trade, for another.

Dallas Cowboys

Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

Sean Martin

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Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach

After hiring Paul Alexander to fill their vacant OL coaching position, the Dallas Cowboys are continuing to retool their offensive staff below Scott Linehan. Sanjay Lal has been hired to coach the Cowboys’ wide receivers, replacing Derek Dooley.

Lal has experience as a WR coach with four different teams, dating back to 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He was promoted up to this position after serving as the Raiders’ quality control coach from 2007-08.

David Moore on Twitter

Sources: Cowboys have reached an agreement with Sanjay Lal to become the team’s WR coach. Lal was with Indianapolis last season and replaces Derek Dooley on the staff.

Most recently, Sanjay Lal coached the receivers for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He has also been with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

In this interview with the Colts, Lal mentions being very detail-oriented with a focus on the technical aspects of playing receiver.

Lal beats out former Cowboys WR Miles Austin for this position, earning the right to lead a room of receivers in desperate need of fresh talent. In an offseason that’s been about finding fresh ideas with the coaching staff so far though, the Cowboys have a new voice on offense.

Tell us what you think about “Sanjay Lal Hired As Cowboys WR Coach” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Losing Linebackers Coach Matt Eberflus to Colts

Jess Haynie

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Matt Eberflus, Sean Lee

Multiple sources are reporting Matt Eberflus — who has been the linebackers coach and passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys — will leave to join the Indianapolis Colts as the new defensive coordinator. Eberflus has been with Dallas since 2011, having joined Rob Ryan’s staff when Ryan become the coordinator for the Cowboys’ defense.

He has been the linebackers coach during his entire Dallas tenure and was also named passing game coordinator in 2016.

Tom Pelissero on Twitter

With Josh McDaniels ticketed for the #Colts, former #Cowboys assistant Matt Eberflus is expected to come along as defensive coordinator, I’m told. Lot of parts falling in place now.

If not the Colts, some thought Matt Eberflus might end up replacing Matt Patricia as the defensive coordinator in New England. Either way, it does not appear Dallas could have kept him around while Rod Marinelli remains in his current position.

Eberflus’ work in Dallas speaks for itself, and primarily through LB Sean Lee.

He has been Lee’s position coach for all but his rookie season, and in that time Lee has been one of the top defensive players in all of football.

Beyond Lee, Eberflus has also been able to get quality play out of mid-round picks like Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson. We also saw Jaylon Smith make significant progress this season.

Given Matt Eberflus has never worked with Josh McDaniels before, the fact he was on the Colts’ radar says a lot.

Make no mistake; the Cowboys lost a good one here.

Don’t panic, however. Coach Marinelli has cast a very wide net during his time in the NFL and there are a lot of potential guys, some with plenty of experience, that Dallas might look to.

It’s entirely possible that Eberflus’ replacement will be someone who Marinelli spends 2018 grooming to take over as the defensive coordinator.

Still, of all the coaching changes so far for Dallas, this one hurts most.

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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Hire Longtime Bengals OL Coach Paul Alexander

Thus far the 2018 offseason has brought a plethora of change to the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Now it is being reported the Cowboys have hired a brand new offensive line coach, former Cincinnati Bengals’ Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander.

Alex Marvez on Twitter

Source tells @sportingnews that Paul Alexander hired as new @dallascowboys offensive line coach

Alexander coached with the Bengals for over 20 years, and replaces the same man in Dallas who replaces him in Cincinnati, Frank Pollack. Alexander has also been the Bengals assistant head coach since 2003.

The Cowboys recently lost an assistant head coach when Special Teams Coordinator Rich Bisaccia left for Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders.

Per usual, the hire has been met with mixed reactions from Cowboys Nation.

Joey Ickes on Twitter

Since 2003, CIN has had only one season where they finished top-10 in Yards per attempt on the ground… They’ve been bottom-5 in the league 5 times in that span… That’s the OL Coach DAL just hired.

The hiring of an offensive line coach who’s rushing attack finished bottom five in the league in rushing yards per attempt five times since 2003 doesn’t look too great on paper. He will also teach with different techniques and styles than previous Cowboys OL coaches, which could potentially set back the offensive line early in the season.

Plus, respected Bengals’ writer Joe Goodberry did not exactly love the hire for the Cowboys.

Goodberry on Twitter

Pretty bad https://t.co/fysjZqCQ6l

Regardless, this is still a very talented offensive line and one which should lead an effective ground attack based on their talent alone. 2017 proved further that coaching matters a lot in the NFL however, and the wrong hire could set back even the most talented of units.

We will just have to wait and see how this 2018 season ends up playing out.

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